Big Lessons From Ad Age's Small Agency Conference
Clients expect agencies to be experts in the new FTC
Clients will look to agencies to have expertise in social-media best practices, said Linda Goldstein, partner and chair of advertising, marketing, media and entertainment at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Agencies need to make sure they have solid social-media practices in place for bloggers and endorsers they may use for clients, as well as for agency employees. Employees need to know who is authorized to speak on behalf of the agency or about the agency. And when it comes to celebrity endorsements, agencies and clients need to make sure there are provisions in the contracts that give them the ability to terminate the contract if a celebrity endorser says something offensive.
Don't say "sorry" immediately
And if a blogger, endorser, or even an employee does say something off-kilter in social media, don't necessarily apologize before you have all the facts in place, said Ms. Goldstein. A mea culpa can wait, but if you do it prematurely it will never go away -- social media lives forever.
Challenger brands can't be afraid to stir the
From a challenger perspective, don't be afraid to start trouble, said Caralene Robinson, brand and marketing director of Boost Mobile. She added that chatter about the brand was key. "We needed to get people talking. A good comment or a bad comment is still a comment," said Ms. Robinson, of the company's aggressive marketing push to differentiate itself in the prepaid wireless marketplace. "If you're going to challenge the marketplace you need to be prepared for a competitive reaction."
Agencies need to differentiate themselves from the
When it comes to agencies promoting and differentiating themselves, "we are the worst marketers of ourselves," said Tom Denari of Young & Laramore during a panel discussion. Because the agency world is so saturated, agencies need to come up with ways to stand out from the one another. Jennifer Modarelli, owner and principal of White Horse, said that her agency had to move out of specific disciplines that weren't going to be part of the agency's formula moving forward. Curt Hanke, co-founder and account director at Shine, said that an agency's brand personality creates a distinction that differentiates brands from competitors.
The client-agency relationship is critical
Seems obvious, but Stephanie Retcho, VP-brand marketing of Kayak cited a frightening stat: 50% of client-agency relationships last less than two years. Kayak itself has a unique business model, and along with that , unusual tactics. Ms. Retcho said that at Kayak, no meeting lasts over 20 or 30 minutes, and it does not issue RFPs. Of the company's relationship with its agency, Gerry Graf's BFG9000, Ms. Retcho said she may not like all of BFGs ideas, but she trusts Mr. Graf's expertise enough to see where things go.
Think bigger than you are
Even small agencies should have a grand vision. Rob Reilly, worldwide chief creative officer at CP&B, said that part of the original philosophy of CP&B was to not just be a regional agency, not just a local Florida shop. "Delusional positivity" is part of the fabric of CP&B. "We believe anything is possible," he said.